EAGAN, Minn. –The future headquarters of the Vikings, the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center, hasn't taken shape yet, but the vision behind it stretches into the future.
The Vikings hosted an official groundbreaking ceremony for the team's future headquarters in Eagan, on Tuesday afternoon. With the sound of earth-moving machines humming in the background, Vikings Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer Steve Poppen spoke about the organization's concept for the headquarters that will occupy 40 of the 200 acres.
"[The Wilf family ownership group] gave us a chance to really research this and look at this project in a significant way," Poppen said. "They gave us the resources to really figure out what's best – not just for us, but what's best for the future. We're going to do our best in this project to do that."
Poppen and other Vikings executives traveled around the country, visiting facilities of universities and other NFL teams as they considered designs that will help football and the business side of the Vikings come together under one roof.
"Through all the work that we did, one thing became very clear to us: that this was the site," Poppen said of the property located off I-494 at the intersection of Dodd Road and Lone Oak Parkway. "It gives us the ability in this new facility to consolidate under one roof […] to improve our continuity, our efficiency, our collaboration in this technologically advanced facility."
After helping put the finishing touches on U.S. Bank Stadium, Vikings project executive Don Becker said team officials are looking forward to this project.
"We're excited to be at this phase," Becker said. "Where you start out with a blank sheet of paper, and then it turns into a drawing, and now we get to turn it into 3-D reality. That's the fun part."
Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman also had his hand in some of the decision-making process of the designing. Spielman worked with Crawford Architects Principal David Murphy and traveled with him to view the University of Oregon's facility and layout.
"They're not going to have me probably pick out the drapes or the carpeting," Spielman told media, laughing. "But to get out there and see all these different colleges and different [designs], and knowing [Head Coach Mike Zimmer] and his philosophy in how he wants things set up."
Spielman said the unique aspects of the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center that he's most excited about include the way the locker room is laid out and the proposed design of the team meeting and position group meeting rooms.
When Zimmer took over the helm of the Vikings, he expressly requested that he have a theater-seating style of meeting room so that he could look every one of his players in the eyes. The Vikings built a temporary set-up at their current Winter Park facilities, and their new headquarters – set to open in March 2018 – will include that specific design and more.
"There are a lot of unique and innovative things that are out there, and to get a chance to just grab an idea from here and grab an idea from there and put it all together and come up with your own plan on what you think will be a first-rate and unique facility is exciting," Spielman said. "It's exciting to be a part of that project."
View images from of the groundbreaking ceremony of the TCO Performance Center and the new home of the Minnesota Vikings facilities in the city of Eagan.